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Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

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Jonathan Bales

I recently completed my 2010 Offensive Line Grades for Dallas, and the results weren’t pretty.  Although I do think Doug Free is the most talented lineman on the team, Kyle Kosier ended up with the highest grade.  Still, it was only a “B” (86.2 percent).

Marc Colombo’s 63 percent, however, was the worst grade I ever gave a player.  If the Cowboys don’t upgrade the right tackle spot this offseason, they deserve another playoff absence in 2011.  Colombo yielded a ridiculous nine sacks, 11 quarterback hits, and 40 pressures in 2010.

I already dissected the game of Colorado OT Nate SolderWisconsin OT Gabe Carimi, and USC OT Tyron Smith.

Scouting Report

Anthony Castonzo reminds me much of Doug Free.  He’s 6’7”, 305 pounds, but a bit of a finesse player.  He’s very good in pass protection, utilizing his long arms (35 1/4 inches) and excellent hand placement to protect the quarterback.  His technique is perhaps the best in the entire draft class.  He rarely gets beat inside, yet still gets proper depth in his drop to allow the quarterback to step up.

Like Free, Castonzo excels on screens and counters.  He uses superb body position to gain leverage on defenders.  You can see this at the 1:10 mark below, when he lets UNC’s Robert Quinn (perhaps this draft’s best edge-rusher) get inside of him, then uses Quinn’s own momentum to force him that way.

If you watched that entire video, you also saw Castonzo get absolutely abused at the 11-second mark.  Outside of that play, I thought Castonzo did a fir job against Quinn.  Remember, Quinn is by far the top competition he faced in college, and Castonzo was neither outstanding nor horrid.

Quinn represents the type of player who could give Castonzo problems: a strong, quick edge-rusher.  If Castonzo moves to right tackle (which he would likely do in Dallas), however, he won’t face too many guys like Quinn.

In general, Castonzo plays quite athletically.  He always maintains a good base, even in space (which is where he excels).  You can see at the 3:42 mark below that Castonzo will have some trouble blocking down.  He doesn’t generally get a great push off of the snap, but I think he’ll be fine if his skill set is used correctly.  Plus, the Cowboys can finally start running counters to the right side.

Some might argue that he won’t fit well at right tackle, but I disagree.  We all know the game is changing into a pass-heavy attack, and the Cowboys desperately need an upgrade over Marc Colombo’s protection.  Who better to replace Colombo than a fellow BC alum?

Projection

I really like what I’ve seen from Castonzo.  As of now, he’s the top offensive tackle I’ve graded.  He’ll be ahead of Nate Solder (by far), Gabe Carimi (by a little), and Tyron Smith (who I consider about equal to Carimi) on my board.

Castonzo is slated to be a late-first or early-second-round selection, but I think he’ll rise some before draft day.  He’s got the size and athleticism coaches love, and he works to the whistle.  I wouldn’t mind Dallas trading out of the No. 9 spot and selecting Castonzo in the late teens.

If that scenario doesn’t pan out, I’d wait until two of the following three players are selected: Castonzo, Carimi, and Smith.  Once that happens, the Cowboys might want to look into moving up from their current second-round selection for the final guy.  That way, they could secure a future right tackle and a dominant player at another position of need with their first pick.

Other Potential Dallas Cowboys Draft Picks in 2011

Nebraska CB Prince Amukamara

Cal DT/DE Cameron Jordan

UNC DE/OLB Robert Quinn

Ohio State DT/DE Cameron Heyward

Colorado OT Nate Solder

Wisconsin OT Gabe Carimi

Iowa DE Adrian Clayborn

USC OT Tyron Smith

Miami CB Brandon Harris

LSU CB Patrick Peterson

UCLA FS Rahim Moore

Baylor NT Phil Taylor

Aaron Williams, CB, Texas

Muhammad Wilkerson, DT/DE, Temple

Corey Liuget, DT/DE, Illinois

Martez Wilson, ILB, Illinois

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15 Responses to Dallas Cowboys Potential Draft Pick in 2011: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College

  1. brian says:

    I am loving your draft series and really appreciate you doing this. However, while , I’m glad to hear you like Castonzo, I am not sure why. He looked good in the second video above but in the video against UNC, I thought Quinn owned him. Quinn seemed constantly in the backfield with Castonzo chasing him kind of desperately. In addition to the sack at the 0:11 mark you mentioned, see the 1:48 mark, the 2:46 mark, and the hold he gets away with at 1:19. Curious why this didn’t bother you?

  2. Vince_Grey says:

    Ehhh. Even in today’s game, I’m not thrilled about both our starting tackles being of the “finesse” variety, though I do think we need to get more athletic in the O-line overall.

    I’m not totally against it, just not completely sold on it. Probably much has to do with the idea of spending our 1st round pick for that sort of player. In the 2nd or 3rd round, I’d be more open to the idea.

    Still, I understand we really have to make an immediate upgrade in that RT spot in some manner, either in FA or the draft.

    In my mind, ideally, we get a defensive lineman in the 1st, be it at #9 or by trading down some, and then add some O-linemen and DB’s in the 2 – 4 rounds.

  3. Brian–Thanks. Probably a hold at the 1:19 mark, but I’m not sure what was going on at the 1:48….if you look, it appears as though the entire O-Line “whiffed” on their guys, almost as if a screen was to be set up. Also remember this is Castonzo’s worst game, by far. Maybe I should have put up more evidence for my views on him, but I wanted to give a look at Castonzo v Quinn.

    Vince–There’s certainly a chance (a small one, but a chance) that Castonzo drops to the second. I think he’s worth taking a look at if he falls around picks 30-35.

  4. Vince_Grey says:

    JB – I agree with that, if he drops into the 2nd, I’d be fine with drafting him.

    BTW, looks like some of the QB’s are moving up the boards fast. Kiper has Cam going 3rd. Amazing. Great athlete, do NOT see him as a pro QB, especially with a high first, but teams reach for that position more than any other by far.

    If several teams go QB crazy, that can only help Dallas, either by making other players available who wouldn’t normally be there at #9 or allowing us to trade down and get some serious return value.

  5. john coleman says:

    I still think Derrick Sherrod is the best in the class. Smith is probably equal to the rest but needs to grow. He may have the most upside of the bunch.

    Equal to the rest- the rest is Carimi and Castonzo.

    I too agreee on Solder. Watching him I get the feeling that he is still learning. If we picked him up in the 3rd, I’d be ok with that.

    There are also many other considerations before I would pick Any of these guys.

    There are also some decent prospects who are college OTs who are projecting as OGs.

    I would think they would be given every chance to play OT first. But let’s hope they don’t become another Brewster, who needs that move to OG and it hasn’t happened.

    Look at how the Raiders moved Veldheer inside.

    I wouldn’t be mad with Castonzo in the 2nd, but IMO he is not ready for the blindside against NFL rushers.

    Caught a little of Rob Ryan’s interview and Reading between the lines, I’m saying they are looking DE. He said Ratliff would be fine lining up over the ball. Of course it could be a diversion.

    VG- I hope they keep moving up.

  6. Mont Seventeen says:

    Jerry Jones has never drafted an Olineman in the first round… A philosophy I agree with when you post a 6-10 record and a more dismal record with your starting QB. At #9… The Cowboys can acquire a playmaker and on either side of the ball. Besides, if we trust the Cowboys system, then we trust the selection of the RT from NDame. Columbo’s service warrants a fight for his position in camp, its embarrassing that the Romo-lovers can kick men like Columbo to the curb after playing with injuries the entire season. The Romo-lovers annual witch hunt, should be focused on the true handicap of the offensive line, the QB.

  7. Vince–I’d love to see Cam and Gabbert go in the top eight picks. Great chance Dareus drops to 9 then, IMO.

    JC–Haven’t looked at Sherrod in much detail yet but that will be coming soon.

    Mont–The handicap of the O-Line isn’t the quarterback. If you think this line is adequate in pass pro, I don’t know what games you’ve watched. And while Sam Young has potential at RT, it would be foolish to count on a late-round second-year player who didn’t play in his rookie season.

  8. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Jonathan, I saw many more “mistakes” or lack of blocking in the NC game. In the 1st four minutes, he gave up a sack and fumble, tackle for about 1 yd gain for the RB and held twice (although it went uncalled). Watch his hands – they’re on the “outside” of the #s of Quinn’s jersey a lot – even to the point where he’s almost got a bear hug goin on for a few plays. That will be called w/ some regularity in the NFL.

    Also, look at results at most of the pass plays; QB rushing to get the ball out of his hands and lots of incomplete passes. I understand this may have been his worst game of the season, but he’ll be facing Quinn-like DEs or better EVERY game in the NFL – even on the right side (Orakpo, Clay Matthews, etc.).

    He certainly looked like a different player vs. Fl St (who does have some talent as well) but his NC game looked fairly bad…

  9. Tyrone–Yes, it was his worst game that I saw (by far). He was generally dominant in other games, and he won’t face many guys like Quinn at RT.

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